Primary school placements row
PUBLISHED: 16:41 01 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:35 23 August 2010
EDUCATION chiefs are bracing themselves for a record number of angry parents whose children have not got places at the primary school of their choice. Dartford is worst hit with 59 families not getting their first, second or third choice of school for th
EDUCATION chiefs are bracing themselves for a record number of angry parents whose children have not got places at the primary school of their choice.
Dartford is worst hit with 59 families not getting their first, second or third choice of school for their child.
It represents over 10 per cent of the 527 parents and carers who received a letter yesterday informing them that the council had chosen their child a school due to over-subscription problems. The total allocation figure has risen from 298 in 2007.
This year Gravesend has 37 affected and Swanley just four.
Head of admissions at Kent County Council (KCC) Scott Bagshaw said transport may have to be laid on for some children in the "hotspots" affected. He said: "In the worst case scenario, the furthest any child will have to go is five miles. It's not just a simple case of building a new school in this area or that area, we don't know which schools parents are going to list as their preference.
"This year the areas most affected are Swanscombe, Northfleet and Sevenoaks but it was different last year and it could be other schools next year."
Mark Dance, KCC cabinet member for education, said primary schools had to accommodate 200 extra pupils each year due to the birth rate.
He said: "We expect that increase to reach a peak in 2014 which is going to create additional pressure, but it doesn't take into account any cross border migration."
Government legislation limiting class sizes to 30 was a big factor in allocating parent's their first choices. He added that it was crucial contractors stick to their commitments on school building in light of the downturn in housing construction. Some schools that have been built in anticipation of expansion, such as Swan Valley near Ebbsfleet, are currently under capacity which could force contractors to try and renegotiate. Dartford primary schools that will receive allocated pupils (not their first, second or third choice) are Bean, Sedley's, Gateway Community, Temple Hill, Sutton-at-Hone, Langafel, Holy Trinity, Oakfield Community and St Albans Road. In Gravesend they are Chantry, Kings Farm, Westcourt and Whitehill while in Swanley it was Horizon and West Kingsdown. Those getting their first choice of school made up 88 percent of 14,730 primary school pupils. Parents have until April 24 to appeal against their children's allocation.